Conservation Central will be in the same location at this year's Farm Progress Show, but the group of conservation agencies and organizations will be boasting a new home.
The group will be located in a hoop building structure donated by Accu-Steel, which will share a portion of the space.
"This new space will provide us better light and air circulation," says Laura Crowell, state public affairs specialist with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Des Moines, Iowa. "But we hope the biggest draw to our exhibit will be the collection of conservation expertise co-located all under one roof."
The Conservation Central partnership started exhibiting at the Farm Progress Show in the early 1990's. Through information, education and conservation-related activities the partnership helps farmers and landowners address natural resource concerns on their land. This year's partners include:
* Conservation Districts of Iowa (CDI)
* Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District
* Iowa Association of Water Agencies (IAWA)
* Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Division of Soil Conservation (DSC)
* Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
* Land Improvement Contractors of America, Iowa Chapter (LICA)
* Pheasants Forever
* Soil and Water Conservation Society, Iowa Chapter (SWCS)
* Trees Forever (TF)
* USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA)
* USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
"Chances are one of our partnership groups can help most visitors, whether they have questions about the Conservation Reserve Program, tree planting, pheasant habitat, water quality or other USDA Farm Bill programs," notes Crowell.
This year's exhibit will again include a working seasonal high tunnel. Hosted by the Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District, the produce grown in the structure for the Farm Progress Show demonstration will be donated to local food banks and charities.
Made metal pipe covered with a layer of specially designed clear plastic sheeting, high tunnels are easy to build, maintain and move. They are typically unheated structures and passively ventilated by opening the end walls and side walls during warm weather. High tunnels are used seasonally in Iowa, providing steady incomes to farmers - a significant advantage to owners of small farms, limited-resource farmers and organic producers.
Through a pilot project, USDA is offering financial and technical assistance to producers for high tunnels through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Since 2010, Iowa NRCS has provided nearly $1 million to help Iowa landowners build more than 200 seasonal high tunnels.
Other outside attractions include:
- Iowa Learning Farm's Conservation Station, which features hands-on interactive education opportunities about soil and water conservation.
- A stream table demonstration provided by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.